Monday, September 24, 2018

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Welcome back and here is the first edition of the Monday Morning Paradiddle for the fall of 2018. Lots of interesting things to share with you today. Thanks for checking back and don't forget to check out my companion Instagram page as well. Please feel free to leave comments. I'd love to hear from you all.

In any event, here's what we've got for you today:

- Check out the story behind the iconic Gretsch logo:


- Hear what several prominent drummers had to say about the impact of Max Roach, Art Blakey and Philly Joe Jones:


- Some older, but great articles from JazzTimes magazine...

Matt Wilson on avant-garde drumming:


Bill Stewart


Jeff "Tain" Watts


- Ted Panken interviews Lewis Nash (originally from Downbeat magazine):


- A couple of great interviews from Pablo Held:

Firstly, here's the great Joey Baron (parts II-IV to come later...):

And here's Bill Stewart:

And here is some great studio footage of Bill with pianist Miki Yamanaka from her recent release "A Fake Hero":

- Here's Joe Farnsworth with a clever drum solo that switches back and forth between sticks and brushes...and then back and forth between sticks and brushes! (sure...why not!)

- Carl Allen shows off his new DW drums:

- Christian McBride's new band New Jawn with drummer Nasheet Waits has a new album coming out soon. Check out this preview:

- I've recently been digging the late Mulgrew Miller's piano trio records that feature Karriem Riggins on the drums. Here's some great footage of Riggins in action:

- More action footage, this time up-close with Willie Jones III:

- The always musical and super swinging Lewis Nash:

- Keep an eye on this young guy....here's Charles Goold with an inventive solo:

- And finally, here's one of my all-time Canadian Jazz heroes, Edmonton's PJ Perry on alto saxophone with Vancouver Island's Hans Verhoeven on drums:

- What am I listening to these days?

Michael Brecker "Tales from the Hudson" - Jack DeJohnette (drums)

Neal Smith "Live at Smalls" - Neal Smith (drums)

Michael Blake "Tiddy Boom" - Rudy Royston (drums)

M.T.B "Consenting Adults" - Leon Parker (drums)

Walt Weiskopf/Andy Fusco "Tea for Two" - Billy Drummond (drums)

One for All "Blueslike" - Joe Farnsworth (drums)

Jon Ballantyne "Sky Dance" - Jerry Fuller (drums)

Peter Beets "New York Trio - Page 3" - Herlin Riley (drums)

- And today's Final Word goes to the immortal wisdom of Elvin Jones (and a special thank you to Ireland's Ronan Guilfoyle for passing this one along):

"There’s only one way to achieve this thing, and that’s hard work. You’ve got to do it. You can’t just dream that something is going to happen; you’ve got to make it happen. And the way to do that is to prepare. And preparing requires a lot of discipline. They used to say, ’Go into the woodshed and practice.’ That’s what it’s all about. You have to get into the shed. A lot of young cats have the wrong idea. They forget there’s a lot of hard work involved. I try to keep them aware of the fact that hard work is necessary to accomplish that. They have to get in the habit of self-discipline, and not just when you think somebody’s looking. You have to do it all the time. It has to be part of what your life is all about. You commit to music in a way that you commit to yourself. If you can’t do that, you might as well forget it.” - Elvin Jones

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Chris Smith - The Drum Hang Vol. 1

I am really digging this new series of YouTube video lessons from Chris Smith these days, entitled "The Drum Hang". His topics are relevant and explanations very concise and informative. Lots of great information to be found here. Personally, I've been shedding his Edgar Bateman and Al Foster tom tom moves all week and will transcribe his recommended Shelly Manne solo from "Way Out West" next.

I asked Chis a few questions about "The Drum Hang" and this is what he had to say:

"As for The Drum Hang I will be posting a new episode each week, so this is just the beginning! I love sharing things with other drummers and I thought this YouTube series was a good way to go about doing that. Currently I am not teaching at the University level, something I have done and love to do, so these videos serve as an outlet for me to remain actively teaching these concepts to students all around the world. Of course most episodes will be applicable to students of any age or skill level, but most geared to college level students. I do hope to eventually have more and more viewers sharing their versions of the exercises not only with me but with all the viewers of The Drum Hang. I plan to accept videos of people adding to or working on things that I post, then adding them to the Drum Hang portion of my website. I want to build a real "hang" or community vibe to this, so as it evolves I will figure out how to make that user friendly.

Please let your readers know:

1) The Drum Hang page on my website is the best for viewing the episodes, as it not only has the videos but also transcriptions that go with each topic 
(*ed. note - vist his website here: http://www.chrissmithjazzdrums.com)

2) New Episodes weekly 

3) I hope to create a "hang" around these topics. I would love to have people show me what they are working on or how my concepts helped or not!"

Thanks again Chris and we hope to see more lessons up soon. If you keep making them, we'll keep posting them!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Evan Sherman

A couple short clips today of Evan Sherman, a wonderful up-and-coming drummer who swings hard and plays with taste and musical integrity, shown here with pianist Emmet Cohen, another great young musician you don't want to miss:

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Steve Smith on Cymbals

People often take their cymbals for granted and many assume that you just whack 'em and everything will work out just fine! Well, there is obviously much more to it than that..

Thanks to the kind people over at the Memphis Drum Shop, here's the great Steve Smith with a few basic but helpful tips on how to properly play one's cymbals:

Monday, September 10, 2018

It's Hammer Time!

From a recent performance at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend festival, here's some absolutely fantastic piano trio drumming from Jeff Hamilton and his crew for you to check out this morning:

What a perfect way to start the week, if I might say so myself...

And while we're at it, here's Hamilton demonstrating the "melodic" possibilities of the drum set on his drum arrangement of Juan Tizol/Duke Ellington's classic composition "Caravan" (*see last week's post with Allison Miller for more on THAT*):

A Modern Drummer magazine feature from a couple of years ago...


And, finally, a couple of great cymbal tips from the Maestro himself (courtesy of the nice people over at the Memphis Drum Shop):

Okay, one more (!) Here's a brief, but excellent demonstration of Jeff's great brushwork:

Thanks Jeff!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Matt Wilson "Willisee"

Some great tenor/drum duet drumming today from Matt Wilson and saxophonist Will Brown on Dewey Redman's classic theme "Willisee":

This piece was originally recorded as a duet between Dewey Redman and Ed Blackwell on the 1980 live album "In Willisau". Wilson was also a long-time sonic collaborator with Redman, playing in his quartet in later years.

I was fortunate to study with Matt during 2004 in New York City thanks to a study grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. I consider Matt and a good friend and a mentor. He always puts the music first and is all ears, all the time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Allison Miller: "Can You Hear Melody in the Drums?"

And...we're back! I hope you all had a wonderful summer. Personally I know that I really enjoyed myself over the last month, travelling across Newfoundland (and Labrador) and just returned from a week in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Now that Labour Day has come and gone, it's time to get back to work.

Thanks to Christian McBride and his excellent on-going series Jazz Night in America, here's the wonderfully musical Allison Miller offering some great ideas, concepts and philosophies on melodic Jazz drumming, ideas that I wholeheartedly agree with and subscribe to in my own playing and teaching as well:

If you are interested in reading more about this sort of thing, why not check out my own doctoral dissertation on the subject?


Thanks again and see you all again real soon.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Monday Morning Paradiddle: Summer Edition

I'm going to be taking my annual summer break from blogging and social media shortly, so this Monday Morning Paradiddle will be my last blog post until September. Fortunately for us, our correspondents have been quite busy, compiling a great list of articles and clips to check out over the remainder of the summer months. Hope you dig it.

- Chicago's Dana Hall featured in Modern Drummer magazine:


- I recently performed with Jazz great Sheila Jordan earlier this summer in Calgary. Here's a nice article from the Calgary Herald about this incredible women:


- Thanks to Tim Mah who forwarded this new podcast series from Lenny White (including interviews with Ron Carter and Mike Clark!):


And....this interview with Rodney Green:


- Brian Blade interviewed by The Trap Set:


And also a recent feature from the Globe & Mail:


- CBC Radio recently aired a wonderful piece on Sheila E and other great female drummers who've battled all sorts of societal obstacles and challenges in the music industry:


Also from CBC radio, a feature on John Coltrane's recently unearthed quartet album featuring Elvin Jones:


- Thanks to Patrick Boyle for hipping me to this 1971 WKCR interview with Elvin Jones:


- Hey look! It's a rare recording of Elvin Jones with the Duke Ellington Orchestra circa. 1966:

I don't think this arrangement lasted long (!) but it was nice while it lasted.

- Ethan Iverson on the legacy of Lorraine Gordon:


- An interview with Marvin "Smitty" Smith:


- From Jazz Profiles, a two-part feature on Philly Joe Jones:

Part 1 http://jazzprofiles.blogspot.com/2008/08/wonder-of-philly-joe-jones-part-1.html

Part 2 http://jazzprofiles.blogspot.com/2008/08/wonder-of-philly-joe-jones-part-2.html

- Some awesome bootlegs featuring Canadian Jazz Drumming Legend Claude Ranger courtesy of Scott White:


- Even more Claude Ranger, this time thanks to Montreal's Mike Rud who shared this personal recording of "Holy Land":

- Antonio Sanchez playing great, in a somewhat awkward interview:

- Adam Nussbaum always has GREAT things to say. Listen to his two-part interview from Drummer Nation:

And even more from the nice people over at Drummer Nation, an interview with Joe LaBarbera:

There will be more coming from Adam Nussbaum, here at Four on the Floor, in the fall so stay tuned.

- Eric Harland! Oh wow!

- Joe Farnsworth going for it, in Italy, on A Night in Tunisia:

- A few wise words from Ralph Peterson Jr.:

- Chris Smith recently started his own on-line teaching platform via YouTube entitled The Drum Hang. Here's the first instalment, featuring some important ideas on ride cymbal technique:

- I performed with Edmonton saxophonist PJ Perry a few years ago on a tribute to the music of Charlie Parker. Someone recently sent me this clip and you can hear me warming up in the background Lol:

- What am I listening to these days?

Solon McDade "Murals" - Rich Irwin (drums)

Cory Weeds Little Big Band "Explosion" - Jesse Cahill (drums)

Grant Stewart "TRIO" - Phil Stewart (drums)

Mike Allen Quartet featuring Hugh Fraser "Panorama" - Julian McDonough (drums)

Sheila Jordan "Portrait of Sheila" - Denzil Best (drums)

David Kikoski "Consequences" - Jeff Tain Watts (drums)

Soren Nissen "Departures" - Ian Wright (drums)

- And today's Final Word go to pianist Benny Green with some sage advice for anyone who is really interested in playing Jazz music:

Thanks again for checking back and for all your continued support.

Please enjoy the rest of your summer and see you in September!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Tim Mah's 2018 Montreal Jazz Fest in Review

My good friend and frequent Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah recently attended the 2018 edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Tim has great taste in contemporary Jazz music and was kind enough to offer this summary of the great music he heard during his time in Montreal.

Tim also hosts the radio program Jazz Today on CJSW and can be found here: https://cjsw.com/program/jazz-today/

So, without any further adieu:

"Tim Mah's 2018 Montreal Jazz Fest in Review"
A recap of the 2018 Festival International de Jazz de Montreal / Montreal International Jazz Festival

When: June 28 to July 7, 2018

Where: The 39th edition of the festival included over 500 events across 13 venues and 7 outdoor stages, primarily located in downtown Montreal. There were over 150 indoor concerts and over 300 free admission events. The outdoor stages and primary venues are within walking distance. The music ranges from jazz, blues, rock, funk, R&B, pop, and folk musics.

Set length: The outdoor concerts are one-hour sets. The set lengths for the indoor concerts varied by venue. For example, at Gesu, there are no opening acts, so expect the set to be 60 to 75 minutes long. At Place des Arts, the opening acts are usually 40 to 60 minutes, and the headline act runs for 75 to 90 minutes, with a 20 to 30 minute intermission. Expect similar set and intermission lengths at the other indoor venues. This is important to note if you are planning to attend a concert before or after an indoor concert.


Festival International de Jazz de Montreal / Montreal International Jazz Festival is the largest jazz festival in the world. With over 500 concerts and schedule overlaps, it was a challenge to hear all of the concerts I wanted to experience. This blog post covers 20 of the artists I heard and will feature the drummer in each of the bands.

1) Cecile McLorin Salvant

Personnel: Cecile McLorin Salvant (voice), Adam Birnbaum (piano), Paul Sikivie (bass), Kyle Poole (drums).

Location: Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts

Recap: Cecile McLorin Salvant’s concert featured music from the Grammy award winning album “Dreams and Daggers.”

In this video (“A Night in the Life: Kyle Poole” from Jazz at Lincoln Center circa. 2014), Kyle Poole talks about being a student at the New School and a working musician at the same time:

This is a video of Kyle Poole with the Emmet Cohen Trio at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival:

2) Christian Sands

Personnel: Christian Sands (piano), Eric Wheeler (bass), Jonathan Barber (drums).

Location: Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts

Recap: The Christian Sands Trio performed a fast paced 40-minute set before the Cecile McLorin Salvant concert. Christian Sands and Cecile McLorin Salvant will be in Calgary on April 11, 2019, as part of the only Canadian tour stop for the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour (60th Anniversary Edition).

The drummer in the band was Jonathan Barber, who released his debut album, “Vision Ahead,” in May 2018. He can also be heard on Jeremy Pelt’s 2018 album “Noir en Rouge (Live in Paris)” and on Sharel Cassity’s 2018 album “Evolve”.

This is a video of the Jeremy Pelt Quintet performing the song “Make Noise!” at the 2017 Montreal International Jazz Festival featuring Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Victor Gould (piano), Vicente Archer (bass), Jacquelene Acevedo (percussion) and Jonathan Barber (drums):

Here is Jonathan Barber and his band performing “Mr. JB” from Jonathan Barber’s "Vision Ahead" album:

3) Keyon Harrold

Personnel: Keyon Harrold (trumpet), Shedrick Mitchell (piano), Burniss Travis (bass), Nir Felder (guitar), Charles Haynes (drums).

Location: Gesu

Recap: Keyon Harrold performed music from his 2017 album “The Mugician”

This is a video of Charles Haynes with Keyon Harrold at Duc des Lombards in Paris:

Here is Charles Haynes with Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life band at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London:

4) Emmet Cohen Trio with Veronica Swift

Personnel: Emmet Cohen (piano), Russell Hall (bass), Evan Sherman (drums), Veronica Swift (voice)

Location: Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill

Recap: The Emmet Cohen Trio performed four nights at the Upstairs Jazz - the first night with Veronica Swift, the second night with Houston Person and the last two nights with Benny Golson.

This is a video of a master class in Cleveland, Ohio, featuring Emmet Cohen, Russell Hall and Evan Sherman:

This is a video of the Evan Sherman Big Band:

5) Marius Neset

Personnel: Marius Neset (saxophones), Ivo Neame (piano), Michael Janisch (bass), Anton Eger (drums).

Location: Gesu

Recap: Marius Neset performed music from the 2017 album “Circle of Chimes.”

This is a video featuring Marius Neset and Anton Eger:

Anton Eger is also a member of the band Phronesis. This is a video of Phronesis performing “Herne Hill” (written by Anton Eger):

6) Ghost-Note

Personnel: Robert “Sput” Searight (durms), Nate Werth (percussion), Xavier Taplin (keys), MonoNeon (bass), Sylvester Onyejiaka (saxophone)

Location: Club Jazz Casino de Montreal

Recap: Ghost-Note is co-led by Snarky Puppy rhythm section members, Robert Searight and Nate Werth. The group performed music primarily from the 2018 album "Swagism".

This is a video of Ghost-Note performing “Swagism” at the 2018 Victoria International Jazz Festival:

This is a video of Ghost-Note performing “Milkshake” at the 2018 Victoria International Jazz Festival:

7) Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop

Personnel: Ernesto Cervini (drums), Dan Loomis (bass), Adrean Farrugia (piano), Joel Frahm (tenor saxophone), Tara Davidson (alto and other saxophone), William Carn (trombone)

Location: Club Jazz Casino de Montreal

Recap: Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop performed music from their 2017 album “Rev”.

This is a video of Turboprop performing “Pennies from Heaven” at the Rex in Toronto:

Here is a video of Turboprop performing “Red Cross” at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton, AB:

8) Mark Guiliana

Personnel: (Beat Music): Mark Guiliana (drums), Bigyuki (keys), Chris Morrissey (electric bass), Jeff Taylor (voice)

Personnel: (Jazz Quartet): Mark Guiliana (drums), Jason Rigby (saxophone), Fabian Almazan (piano), Chris Morrissey (bass), Gretchen Parlato (voice)

Location: Gesu

Recap: Mark Guiliana performed three concerts at Gesu as part of the Invitation Series. The first concert was with John Medeski and Billy Martin. I attended the last two concerts: Mark Guiliana 's Beat Music, featuring Bigyuki, and the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet with Gretchen Parlato.

This is a video of Mark Guilana's Beat Music (featuring Bigyuki) from Zinc Bar in 2014:

This is the concert video of the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet at the 2017 Montreal International Jazz Festival:

9) Herbie Hancock

Personnel: Herbie Hancock (piano, keys), Lionel Loueke (guitar), James Genus (bass), Trevor Lawrence Jr. (drums).

Location: Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts

Recap: Herbie Hancock and his band performed classic songs from Herbie Hancock’s repertoire.

This is a video of 2016 Herbie Hancock’s concert on Jazz Night in America from the BRIC Celebrate Festival, featuring all of the band members and Terrace Martin (keyboards, saxophone):

This is a video of an interview with Trevor Lawrence Jr. talking about his 2017 debut album called “Relationships”:

10) Thundercat

Personnel: Thundercat (a.k.a. Stephen Bruner) – bass, voice; Dennis Hamm – keys; Justin Brown – drums.

Location: Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts

Recap: Thundercat performed a 60-minute set before Herbie Hancock’s concert.

Here’s a video of Thundercat on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series, with Dennis Hamm (keys), Miguel Atwood Ferguson (violin) and Justin Brown (drums):

Justin Brown’s debut album “NYEUSI” was released at the end of June 2018. This is a video of Justin Brown and NYEUSI's Boiler Room Live set:

11) Gilad Hekselman Trio with Mark Turner

Personnel: Gilad Hekselman (guitar), Rick Rosato (bass), Jonathan Pinson (drums), Mark Turner (tenor saxophone)

Location: Gesu

Recap: Gilad Hekselman’s concert featured music from the album “Ask For Chaos” (to be released in September 2018)

Here is a video of Jonathan Pinson with the Gilad Hekselman (“gHex”) trio performing “Take the Coltrane”:

This is a video of Jonathan Pinson with the Daniel Szabo trio at the Blue Whale in Los Angeles:

12) Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band

Personnel: Brian Blade (drums), Jon Cowherd (piano), Chris Thomas (bass), Myron Walden (alto saxophone, bass clarinet), Melvin Butler (tenor and soprano saxophones)

Location: Monument National

Recap: Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band featured music from the album Body and Shadow.

This is a video of Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band at the 2015 Rimouski jazz festival performing “Migration”:

This is a video of Brian Blade with the Children of the Light Trio (including John Patitucci and Danilo Perez):

13) Renee Rosnes

Personnel: Renee Rosnes (piano), Steve Nelson (vibraphone), Robert Hurst (bass), Lenny White (drums)

Location: Maison Symphonique at Place des Arts

Recap: Renee Rosnes was the recipient of the Oscar Peterson award at the 2018 Montreal Jazz Festival. The 60 minute concert featured music from Renee Rosnes’ 2018 album “Beloved of the Sky”.

An interview with Lenny White from the NYU Steinhardt Jazz Interview Series 2015:

Lenny White in Clinic from 1983:

14) Dave Holland Zakir Hussain & Chris Potter Trio (“Crosscurrents Trio”)

Personnel: Dave Holland (bass), Zakir Hussain (tabla), Chris Potter (saxophone)

Location: Maison Symphonique at Place des Arts

Recap: Crosscurrents is an international super group led by Dave Holland and Zakir Hussain, which has been touring across the world over the last year. A subset of the band (“Crosscurrents Trio”) has been performing at jazz festivals this summer. Zakir Hussain was the recipient of the Antonio Carlos Jobim award from the festival.

This is a video of the Crosscurrents Trio at the 2018 Istanbul Jazz Festival:

The Crosscurrents concert (May 2018 at Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center) featured on NPR’s Jazz Night in America:

15) Theo Croker

Personnel: Theo Croker (trumpet), Irwin Hall (alto saxophone), Mike King (piano, keys, bongos), Eric Wheeler (bass), Kassa Overall (drums)

Location: Gesu

Recap: Theo Croker performed music from his most recent album “Escape Velocity” and new music from his forthcoming album “Star People Nation.”

From the 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival, this is a video of Theo Croker's “Dvrk Funk”:

This is a video of Kassa Overall in the Geri Allen Trio:

16) Allison Au Quartet

Personnel: Allison Au (saxophone), Todd Pentney (piano), Jon Maharaj (bass), Fabio Ragnelli (drums)

Location: TD Stage

Recap: The Allison Au Quartet was the recipient of the 2017 Grand Jazz Award at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The quartet returned to the 2018 festival to perform on the TD Stage (the largest outdoor stage at the festival). This was the final stop on the cross Canada tour. The quartet was featured in the June 11, 2018 Four on the Floor post, regarding their appearance in Calgary.

This is a video of the Allison Au Quartet performing “Tides” from the Juno Award winning album, Forest Grove:

This is a video of Fabio Ragnelli with the Alex Goodman Trio, performing “Let’s Cool One”:

17) Steve Kuhn

Personnel: Steve Kuhn (piano), Aidan O’Donnell (bass), Billy Drummond (drums)

Location: Monument National

Recap: The festival recognized Steve Kuhn’s 80th birthday with this concert. The Steve Kuhn trio performed a set of jazz standards to an appreciative audience.

Here is a video of Billy Drummond with the Steve Kuhn Trio, including Steve Swallow (bass):

See the Four on the Floor blog post on July 19, 2018 for more on Billy Drummond.

18) David Binney’s Alhambra Quartet

Personnel: David Binney (saxophone), Luca Mendoza (piano), Logan Kane (bass), Nate Wood (drums)

Location: Gesu

Recap: David Binney’s Alhambra Quartet concert featured compositions from Binney and Mendoza. Chris Potter joined the band for one song. Alhambra is a reference to Los Angeles, where all of the band members are from. The concert included songs from across David Binney’s catalogue, including his 2018 album “Hear & Now” and an unreleased song from a 2019 album with Antonio Sanchez, Ben Monder and Matt Brewer.

Nate Wood’s fOUR is a project of one take performances with no prerecorded backing tracks, overdubs or click track. The album, called “X.IT,” is scheduled for release on July 27, 2018.

This is a video of Nate Wood’s “Rabbit” from the fOUR project:

This is a video of Nate Wood performing with Kneebody (2014 in Seattle):

19) Dr. Lonnie Smith Evolution

Personnel: Dr. Lonnie Smith (organ). Jonathan Kreisberg (guitar), Johnathan Blake (drums), Jason Marshall (baritone saxophone), Robin Eubanks (trombone), John Ellis (tenor saxophone), Andrew McAnsh (trumpet), Alicia Olatuja (voice).

Location: Gesu

Recap: Dr. Lonnie Smith was one of the artists selected to perform during the Invitation Series at the festival. The concert I attended featured the large ensemble called “Evolution”, which is a reference to the 2016 album on Blue Note Records. Dr. Lonnie Smith also performed one night with his trio and another night with Chris Potter. Toronto trumpeter, Andrew McAnsh, was a late substitution for this concert (he flew in the day of the concert).

Here is Johnathan Blake with the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio (Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jonathan Kreisberg, Johnathan Blake) performing “Beehive and My Favourite Things”:

This is a video of Johnathan Blake performing “Shuffle Boil” with the Kenny Barron Trio (plus guest, Elena Pinderhughes on the flute) from the 2016 Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Check out the previous posts on Four on the Floor Blog featuring Johnathan Blake.

20) Shai Maestro Trio

Personnel: Shai Maestro (piano), Joe Martin (bass), Ofri Nehemya (drums)

Location: Gesu

Recap: The Shai Maestro Trio performed an improvised set, drawing from Shai Maestro’s most recent album, The Stone Skipper.

One of the songs performed at Gesu was “From One Soul to Another” from The Stone Skipper. This is a video of the Shai Maestro Trio (Shai Maestro, Jorge Roeder, Ofri Nehemya) performing the song at the 2017 Voll-Damm Jazz Festival in Barcelona:

This is a video of Ofri Nehemya, with Omer Avital’s band, performing “Know What I Mean!?” (from Omer Avital’s 2018 album, Qantar):

Monday, July 23, 2018

Kongsberg 1975

A shout out and very special thank you to Julian MacDonough who found this gem.

From Kongsberg, Norway circa. 1975 here's a documentary with some great performance footage and insightful interviews from the likes of Ed Thigpen, Billy Higgins, Elvin Jones and Dannie Richmond:

I really like Mr. Higgins' answer when asked what the role of the drummer is:

"He's a navigator", Higgins replied...now think about THAT for awhile!

And here's a short-cut to the footage of Elvin Jones and his quartet (featuring Pat LaBarbera on tenor saxophone....apparently this was also his very first European tour with Elvin's band):

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Billy Drummond on "Little B's Poem"

A wonderfully musical solo from one of my favourite Jazz drummers, the great Billy Drummond, improvising on Bobby Hutcherson's composition "Little B's Poem" from a recent hit at Small's in New York City:

And while we're at it, here is Drummond offering a story on how he came to play with the great Sonny Rollins:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Savion Glover & Marcus Gilmore

And...we're back.

And what better way to kick off our summer return than with some recent and truly dynamic interplay between two master rhythmatists: tap artist Savion Glover and Marcus Gilmore on drums.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Jazz Camp

I will be taking a brief break from blogging for a bit here (although please check my Instagram feed as I'll still be posting photos of random drums & Jazz drummers regularly over there...) In the meantime I'll be heading to my hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan shortly to teach at the annual Prairielands Summer Jazz Camp being held at the University of Regina for the next ten days.

I've been involved with this particular Jazz camp for 25 years now, first participating as a student when it started back in 1994 then 1995, then working as a camp assistant for a number of years, eventually taking over as the Jazz drum instructor in 2002 until now.

Jazz camps (and workshops in general) are an intense, fun and a great experience. I've taught at and participated in quite a few over the years. Those first two camps I attended in Regina back in the mid-90s while I was still in high school were formative experiences for me: having the opportunity to work with drummers Kevin Dempsey and Andre White and also offering introductions to many teachers who would later become important figures and mentors in my formal education in later years while studying in Montreal and Toronto (ie. Kevin Dean, Gordon Foote, Paul Read, Kirk MacDonald, Mike Downes, Kevin Turcotte, Brad Turner, Chase Sanborn, Kristin Korb, etc.)

While definitely not high school experiences, I've also attended the summer Jazz workshops at the Banff Centre for the Arts (1997) and the Lake Placid Jazz Workshop (1998). Between those two experiences I had the opportunity to work with amazing drummers and teachers such as Joe LaBarbera, Abraham Adzenyah and Billy Hart (!) as well as the chance to play with and learn from such icons as Kenny Wheeler, Don Thompson, Hugh Fraser, Hadley Caliman, Pat LaBarbera, Joe Lovano, Tim Hagans, Kenny Werner, Rufus Reid, John Abercrombie, Jim McNeely and Dick Oatts!

The Lake Placid, New York workshop is long gone but the Banff Centre still hosts an amazing workshop every summer and I highly recommend this to everyone I know. That summer in Banff really changed my life and it really is a special place. Some of the musical relationships that started during those summers with other "campers" continue to this day.

A couple of Jazz "camps" that are currently on my radar and hope to attend in the near future include Billy Martin's "Rhythm, Sound and Magic" Workshop https://www.rhythmsoundandmagic.com and Phil Dwyer's Jazz and Culinary Arts Academy https://mcmillanartscentre.com/school-for-creative-arts/the-phil-dwyer-academy-of-music-culinary-arts/phil-dwyer-jazz-and-culinary-arts-academy-at-the-mac-this-summer/

If you are a high school student looking for an intensive Jazz experience or an emerging university Jazz student (or older even...) I can't recommend enough to take part in an intensive workshop or "Jazz camp" experience at some point. They will undoubtedly put you in new musical surroundings and push your knowledge and abilities.

So wherever you might be this summer and whatever Jazz experience you choose to participate in, no matter what stage you are at in your musical career, happy camping!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Cobb Special

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It's been a while since I've posted one of these...so here you go!

This is a pattern that I like to play and that I often get asked about. This pattern is inspired by some things I transcribed from Jimmy Cobb on the Joe Henderson album "Four". Keep in mind that this is NOT what Cobb played but instead an idea that was derived from something I thought I heard him play. I believe there is great value in transcribing solos and vocabulary from the Masters but I also believe that if you come up with something of your own while doing so, well that's okay too!

The pattern goes by quickly so I alternate between playing it slow, then fast.

The pattern itself is comprised of single strokes. It is a ten-note pattern, divided into four-note then six-note groupings (with an accent on the beginning of each).

In the video above I play the pattern four times, divided around the drums, with a little "bebop" ending to wrap it up. Hope you dig it.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Interview with Roy Haynes 1994

Another gem from the vaults of WGBH, here's an interview with Roy Haynes (aka the coolest and hippest man in the known universe!) circa. 1994 with Eric Jackson:


And, in case you needed reminding...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Benny Green Trio

From a recent hit at Jazz @ Lincoln Center, here is pianist Benny Green and his fabulous trio featuring the Jazz Maniac himself, Kenny Washington on the drums:

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

David Freeman: "Overview Effect"

New York-based drummer and percussionist David Freeman recently released his new album "Overview Effect" and was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his most recent musical offering. I was first introduced to David through his playing with the Outer Bridge Ensemble and, as you will read below, his words and answers to my questions are every bit as captivating and insightful as is his drumming and compositions.

1) Tell us about your latest recording!

My new album, Overview Effect, is a demonstration of struggle in the search for balance between the personal and the collective, where the self-seeking creative is met by a call for civic engagement. The music on this album is a result of that process, one that embodies conviction, reflection and celebration.

The musicians featured on this record include Mustafa Bhagat (Arranged Marriage, The Biryani Boys) on Sitar, Steve Hudson (Outer Bridge Ensemble) on Keyboards, Jamie Zillitto (The Everymen) on Bass, myself on Drums/Percussion with special guests Ivan Barenboim (Sha’ar) on Bass Clarinet and Arun Ramamurthy (Brooklyn Raga Massive) on Violin.

The group’s aesthetic sensibilities, musical influences and technical abilities to cross between and defy genres that include Jazz, Rock and Indian Music are among the strengths that contribute to its success in forging new territory. 

2) How did you choose your repertoire and sidemen? 

I’ve spent the last decade or so of my career recording either as a member of a collective or as a sideman, which is great, because those experiences prepared me to take on the leadership role required for writing, arranging, fundraising and producing Overview Effect. Everyone I’ve ever worked with and continue to work with, I learn from. 

The band members and repertoire worked hand in hand with one another. While I had some of the material for this record sketched out, some of it was near finished while other hadn’t been written. For example, the opening track, Bamidbar, had already been performed by the Outer Bridge Ensemble in years past. Kindness up to the point of recording had been a sketch and Shrouds of Linen Shrouds of Fire was a composition written for the album. Tweaks were made accordingly throughout the rehearsal and recording process.

As far as the band goes, I knew I wanted to draw from my influences while forging a musical identity for myself. So I needed to find musicians I could trust with my vision, concept and direction on both an emotional and musical level. I often feel vulnerable when making art and needed to feel safe and supported when producing this record. I’m a human being. I’m grateful that the musicians on this album are also some of my closest friends.

3) What inspired you to pursue the vibe and instrumentation that you did?

Nothing on this record is forced. And by that I mean the music takes form as it would naturally. Sure you might look at the album and ask how it all might work. Listen to the record and it immediately becomes clear what’s happening. And that’s really the most I can hope for.

South African pianist/composer Abdullah Ibrahim talks about how musicians, in searching for the music, realize it’s been there all along. We just have to uncover it. And in doing so, discover our inner selves. I feel that’s true for me in the making of this album. I discovered a lot about myself I knew was already there but wasn’t fully embracing. The music that’s there is an energy shared by all of us. 

4) Was there a particular message you were trying to convey to the listener?

This is certainly music with a message; messages of protest, truth, power, and celebration. The music speaks to our common humanity and the hope that we’ll maintain a conviction to do right by our neighbors and our natural environment.

5) Who are your influences with regards to this style of writing and playing?

Composing for me is contrapuntal in nature in that I tend to hear the rhythms and melodies in my mind’s ear. I don’t really hear and write by way of chord changes. I write music more like Bach would. I also take notes from John Zorn’s compositional approach.

I almost always sing them onto a recording device as soon as I can. Anywhere. Anytime. When I’m riding the subway or out on the street walking the dog. Then I head to the piano and find the music on the keyboard and write it out the rhythms and melodies on staff paper. Once it all down and arranged, I usually get help from Steve Hudson to clean up the mistakes I've made here and there. We all need help. We all make mistakes. Anyone who tells you they’ve done it all by themselves is full of shit.

6) What are you practicing/studying/listening to/researching these days?

I'm often listening and practicing music for a gig. But in addition to that, I try to stay focused on the fundamentals. With limited time, I’ll sit for 45 minutes session on a pad shedding rudiments before sitting at the drums. I usually start a session on the drum set soloing and improvising in search of new phrasing and textures. Then I’ll pick up a book and work on a lesson, or a rhythm or exercise. Russ Moy, my first drum teacher encouraged me to always pick up new books and drum videos. It's become habit. I have hundreds of drum instructional books. I’m a student for life. Thanks Russ.

7) What other current and future projects do you have on the go at the moment?

My career as a teaching artist has gained a bit of momentum in recent months as I pivot my focus towards advocacy and leadership. I just completed the Central New York Teaching Artist Training in Auburn, New York. Next month, in July, I’ll be attending the Lincoln Center Summer Forum Teaching Artist Training in New York City followed by a trip to Detroit to participate the Asylum Arts Artist Retreat.

On the music front, I just finished a run of album release shows here in Brooklyn including a taping of BRIC Arts B-Side Series. I'll be doing some playing over the summer with guitarist Oren Neiman as well. More album release shows in the works for the upcoming fall.

8) How do the drums, percussion and overall approach to rhythm factor into your compositions and concept?

My concept is feel based. Even though you find odd time signatures, it grooves. No gratuity or pretense. I try to make every effort of being honest with myself when it comes to the development of a song or concept. If it’s not working or feels forced, I try not to be too precious about it. I table it because I know the idea will manifest again at the right time in the right way. And like I said before, the melodies and rhythms are born through song first, from the heart. So there is a songlike quality to the album overall.

9) What drummers & percussionists do you consider as influences?

I grew up listening to classic rock like Neil Young, Rush, Santana, The Allman Brothers and The Grateful Dead. Also deep in my DNA, western classical music and opera, which was always playing at my grandfather’s house across the street. Also look to Mahavishnu Orchestra, Medeski Martin and Wood, John Zorn’s Masada, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Fela Kuti, Ravi Shankar and Steve Reich for inspiration as well.

10) What advice do you have for younger, aspiring jazz musicians and drummers/percussionists?

We all have individual strengths and weaknesses. What may come easy for some comes with struggle for others. Work to improve your practice and help others improve theirs. Always ask for help if you need it and celebrate the success of others. Our successes and our failures are a reflection of the care and neglect in all our relationships. It’s never too late to do a kindness. 

Don’t Make Excuses, Make Art!

Check out David's new album "Overview Effect" on Bandcamp: https://davidfreeman2.bandcamp.com/releases and check out David's full length performance on the BRIC Arts B Side: www.bricartsmedia.org/events-performances/b-side-david-freeman-hosted-david-ellenbogen

Monday, June 18, 2018

Philly's "Tympany Cross"

Check out this original manuscript from Philly Joe Jones circa. 1968 (while living in London, England). These are a series of crossover manoeuvres around the drums that he calls "The Tympany Cross" (undoubtedly inspired by some of his orchestral percussion counterparts):

You might have to decipher his method of documentation and notation, but there is some cool stuff here for sure. I'll have to check, but I wonder if these might also be written down in Vinnie Ruggiero's book as well.

And special thanks to the person over on the Facebook who first shared this rare piece of Jazz drumming history!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Three's Company (NOLA Drum Edition)

So apparently this is how three Jazz drummers share the drum throne during a jam session in NOLA:

You can really sense the mutual admiration and respect each drummer has for each other (dig the other two drummers always smiling and dancing behind the drums while waiting their turn...) and this folks, is what it is all about.

Monday, June 11, 2018

A Drummer's Guide to the JAZZYYC Calgary Summer Jazz Festival

Calgary's annual Summer Jazz Festival is back this week, happening across various venues around town June 14 - 17.

Here's my very biased and drummer-centric picks of several not-to-be-missed shows and the great drummers that will performing this week.

1) Undoubtedly my first choice would be to catch New York tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander with legendary pianist Harold Mabern at the National Music Centre on Friday, June 15th 8pm featuring Master swinger Joe Farnsworth on the drums.

Joe is a personal favourite of mine and I've long admired his hard swinging beat & style. If you are only going to see one show this week, this is the one to catch!

2) Happening that same evening, starting an hour earlier at 7pm, and appearing down the street on 9th Avenue SE at the Ironwood Stage & Grill will be Cuban-born, Toronto-based pianist Hilario Duran along with Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez on the drums.

Hernandez is a master drummer/percussionist (ie. a BEAST!) who's coordination and sophisticated blending of Afro-Cuban rhythms around the drum set is something to behold.

3) Also appearing at the Ironwood and opening the festival the evening before on Thursday, June 14th at 7pm is Toronto alto saxophonist Allison Au and her quartet, fresh off of a Juno win and recognition as the most outstanding group at the 2017 Montreal International Jazz Festival. Appearing with Au's group is the wonderful Fabio Ragnelli on the drums.

4) If you are out and about in Inglewood on Sunday afternoon for the JazzYYC Jazz Walk on 9th Avenue SE, check out trombonist Carsten Rubeling's groovy new project VOLK featuring drummer Colin Adhikary. Colin recently completed his degree at Humber College in Toronto and has been back in Calgary for a year now and is really playing great. VOLK will be appearing at the Cold Garden Beverage Company in Inglewood on the afternoon of Sunday, June 17 from 3-5pm.

5) While not "officially" part of the festival, but definitely most worthy of any serious Calgary Jazz fan's attention, is the trio of saxophonist Mark DeJong, bassist Steve Shepard and Jeff Sulima on drums at Betty Lou's in the basement of Devinish Building, just off of 17th Avenue and 8th Street SW. These guys have been holding court at this hip cocktail bar every week for a year now and it's a great place to relax, enjoy a nice beverage and dig some great music in a hip room. Check them out every Thursday night starting at 7pm.

6) And last, but certainly not least, make sure to check out Montreal pianist John Roney and his trio (featuring yours truly Jon McCaslin on the drums!) hosting the nightly jam session at the Ironwood Bar & Grill (Thursday/Friday nights starting @ 10pm and Saturday night starting @ 12am). Come on by and say hello, sit in for a few tunes and tell them that Four on the Floor sent you!

For more information, a complete listing and ticket info, visit the JazzYYC website: www.jazzyyc.com

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Interview with Art Taylor 1994

Another great audio interview from the vaults of WGBH, this time with the great Art Taylor:


You all know the drill:

When when the Masters speak....WE LISTEN.

And in case you need some reminding, here's some killer footage of A.T. with Johnny Griffin:

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Alan Dawson Interview 1994

A nice interview with Alan Dawson from 1994 recently surfaced, so here it is:


Dawson is very articulate and tells some great stories. I was particular interested by his comments on the relationship between Jazz drumming and tap dancing at about the 24 minute mark. Check it out.

As per usual, when the Masters speak...we listen!

Here's some of my favourite clips of Dawson in action:

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Welcome back y'all and I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Here's what's cooking over here around the Four of the Floor offices these days and presented to you in this edition of the Monday Morning Paradiddle:

- The ever-wise Victor Lewis interviewed by All About Jazz:


- Ignacio Berroa shares his thoughts over at The Trap Set:


- WBGO gives the drummers some in this column, featuring new releases brought to us by several current drummers:


- An interview with Ralph Peterson Jr. in Modern Drummer magazine:


- Toronto drummer Nick Fraser recently featured in Downbeat magazine:


- Thanks to Adam Nussbaum who sent along these two links to a 1972 concert in Paris featuring Elvin Jones and his quartet!



- Bill Stewart gets busy...

- Billy Hart sets up a tune with his quartet:

- Adam Nussbaum and Seamus Blake get into it with Italian organist Alberto Gurrisi:

- Herlin Riley puts it all out on the line (the second line?) with this one...

- New York drummer Colin Stranahan offers his creative experience on The Creative Mindset Podcast:

- Willie Jones III with some musical advice from a recent masterclass:

- Mark Nelson, a GREAT drummer from Montreal, demonstrates some nice Gretsch drums, brought to us by the nice people over at Timpano Percussion:

- Tenor Saxophonist Ben Wendel with drummer Justin Brown from Wendel's new "Standards with Friends" series:

- Special thanks to John Riley who forwarded along this AMAZING clip of Ruben Bellavia's transcription performance of Tony Williams' drum solo on "Walkin'":

- What am I listening to these days?

Joe Henderson "Double Rainbow: The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim" - Jack DeJohnette, Paulo Braga (drums)

Al Henderson "Dinosaur Dig" - Barry Romberg (drums)

Kenny Barron Quintet "Concentric Circles" - Johnathan Blake (drums)

Bill Charlap Trio "I'm Old Fashioned"

Bud Powell "Off Minor" - Kenny Clarke (drums)

Don Thompson Quartet "CBC 1977" - Claude Ranger (drums)

- And today's Final Word goes to the late John Birks Gillespie:

"Take care of the Music, and the Music will take care of you!" - Dizzy Gillespie

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Mr. Higgins

I've posted this one before but because it is so good, I am sharing it again because....well, just because!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Rudy Royston

I've really been enjoying Rudy Royston's 2016 trio release "The Rise of Orion" lately. Royston is a dynamic drummer, engaging composer and I really dig his energy and creative orchestrations around the drum set.

Here's a peek of Royston's trio featuring saxophonist Jon Irabagon:

Dig this feature from Modern Drummer magazine from a few years ago:


Also, check out this interview with Rudy from Dave Douglas' Greenleaf Music:


Thursday, May 17, 2018

John Riley Solo

A very brief but fun and action packed drum solo from John Riley today (recently filmed somewhere in Europe, I believe?) Dig the cool multi-coloured light show happening behind him. Jazz drumming could use more of that, I think...

Anyways, as always, Riley's drumming is super musical and I've always really admired his loose, flowing technique while moving around the drums and the great sound he gets from the instrument.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Marcus Gilmore

Thanks to a lesson with John Riley last month, I've been inclined, upon his suggestion, to check out what Marcus Gilmore is up to lately. He's definitely been making waves (sound & otherwise) these days. Here's a wealth of links and clips to check out of this very unique, modern Jazz drummer.

- A feature from NPR:


- Interview with Jazz Speaks:


- An interview with Nick Ruffini over at the Drummer's Resource Podcast:


- A podcast from Chick Corea's website (somebody who knows a thing or two about drummers!):


And finally, here's a bunch of cool clips featuring this dynamic and creative musician:

Monday, May 7, 2018


A few cool clips today of a favourite (but not very well known) drummer of mine, the great Master drummer Marvin Bugalu Smith. Check him out: